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Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Elizabeth: The Golden Age Fizzles and Flops, or, a Review of a Wasted Movie


One Sentence Verdict: This movie made my brain bleed.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a movie that should have come with the caveat, "5% of this movie was inspired by real events." As far as historical accuracy goes, the movie was abysmal. Furthermore, it was devoid of a proper plot, quality dialogue, and — oh Hell, let's just come right out and say it — it was devoid of LIFE.

Supposedly about an era in England when things were happening left, right and center — assassination plots, marriage proposals, theatre, schemings, wheelings, dealings — everything teeming with life and danger, this movie was dull and Boring (yes, with a capital "B"). Few historical facts were included at all, and the few that were, were distorted or portrayed incorrectly. There are 5 million shots of beams of light dancing around the Virgin Queen's white-painted face and lace collar scattered at regular intervals throughout the movie, but few facts.

No historical personages are present in all of the film apart from:
Raleigh, who is misrepresented; Walsingham, who is given little play; Mary, Queen of Scots who is afforded 4 minutes of actual film time, King Philip of Spain who comes off as a total lunatic with a squinting problem; John Dee, the astrologer, who gets to play Elizabeth's Gandalf; Bess Throckmorton, who is played by an actress who could have been replaced with a wax doll from Madame Tussaud's; and oh yes, poor young Anthony Babington, whose name is never once mentioned, gets a minute of panting and staring into space while yes, you guessed it, lights play around Elizabeth's white face and lace collar. Most of the Queen's closest advisers, including Burleigh, were never seen or mentioned at all, nor the minor personage of Leicester, who we know was with her at Tilbury, among other places. Francis Drake gets all of 4 lines of dialogue and is forgotten.

Speaking of dialogue, it is awful. Apart from Elizabeth's "I, too, can command the wind", there isn't a proper line in the film. Most egregiously, the famous Speech to the Troops at Tilbury, which many of us who love Queen Elizabeth know by heart, is omitted wholesale, replaced by some screenwriting-class-flunkie, watered-down DRIVEL. Furthermore, this is where the director decided he's going to do Good Queen Bess as Lady Godiva, and has her wearing a long, loose wig, blowing in the wind. Even more, he has to stick her on a cliff, staring out at the sea, with her cloak billowing behind her on the wind. The misrepresentation of what actually happened with and to the Spanish Armada gets reinvented with suicide bombers and Clive Owen pretending to be Errol Flynn in Sea Hawk. Sorry Clive. Love you, but Errol Flynn ya ain't.

Speaking of cloaks and costumes, there were several good costumes on Elizabeth, but not one of them was downright great. There were several instances where the dresses were unicolored, instead of the dress and kirtle being different colors. Many of the costumes were in colors Elizabeth detested, in colors in which she would not have been caught dead in. Worst of all was the dress (read: chemise) in which Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed. It was an anachronism to begin with, and inaccurate — Idiots, we have drawings of her execution!

I have seen 90% of the Elizabeth-related movies in existence. This was the weakest showing, a waste of $9.50, a waste of 2 hrs, a waste of LIFE!!!! I wanted to yell obscenities at the screen, but I was too busy yawning.

If you haven't seen this movie, consider yourself fortunate, and avoid it like the bubonic plague. D-
 

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5 Comments:

Blogger SzélsőFa said...

I see how it must have been a torture for you to watch...poor you.
And good for me, for now I'm not going to see it ...

November 11, 2007 3:59 PM  
Blogger Ahren said...

This is why I <3 you! You're so keen and you write with razor blades. There's no way I'm seeing it now. Thanks for taking one for the team, Princess.

We all know who the real queen is. (^_<);

November 11, 2007 4:39 PM  
Blogger Mophia said...

I wasn't going to watch it anyways, cuz I rarely watch fictionalized versions of real history. :)

November 11, 2007 10:21 PM  
Blogger Anniina said...

SzélsőFa - Heheheh!

Ahren - writing with razor blades, <3 that, TY :)

Mophia - I should know better too :)

November 11, 2007 10:29 PM  
Blogger Jarod said...

Thanks for the review.
I saw it as well. I generally don't mind historical inaccuracy in movies (I am surrounded by history all day) as long as they aren't under the pretense of accuracy. For example, in 300 the makers basically came out and said "This is not accurate". However, Elizabeth I think assumes to be a bio pic, in which case they should be accurate.
I think it's main downfall was the tired cliches in the drama, and their failure to capture any real excitement. Maybe they'll make Elizabeth III, except this time have some sort of cartoon dog as a sidekick. Complete with "sassy" kids and soft-drink endorsements.

November 12, 2007 12:48 PM  

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